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5 Record-Breaking 2018 Holiday Package Delivery Statistics

This year, shoppers smashed previous records for Black Friday and Cyber Monday spending, with over $7.9 billion spent online. As a result, multifamily properties have been bracing for the millions of package deliveries following in their wake. The dust has finally settled from Black Friday. Here's a snapshot of package delivery statistics from thousands of multifamily communities across the United States. These stats shed light on the aftermath of “the largest online shopping day in US history”, and paint a picture of the unique package management challenges apartment communities face every December.    1. In one week, package delivery increased by 68%. With over 39% of holiday shoppers planning to do their shopping equally in-store and online, it’s no surprise that package volume surged in the week following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year, the amount of packages shipped and delivered increased by 68%, compared to the week before Black Friday. This huge jump follows the surge experienced in 2017, when package volume increased by 80% pre-Black Friday to post-Black Friday.  We could be witnessing the emergence of a new status quo: the week following Black Friday, prepare for package delivery volume to nearly double. This knowledge can help property managers better prepare for the operational challenges in store.   2. Properties saw 5% more packages than in 2017. On an individual level, shoppers ordered more packages this year than the 2017 Black Friday weekend—but not that many more. True, the week following Black Friday 2018 saw more packages per day deliver......
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$43.5 Million NIBCO PEX Class Action Settlement Announced

$43.5 Million NIBCO PEX Class Action Settlement Announced

It appears as though allegedly defective plumbing products have hit the market again. On October 26th, 2018, the NIBCO PEX Settlement Administrator and Plaintiffs’ law firms announced a class action settlement involving allegedly defective PEX tubing, fittings, and clamps. Per the settlement website: “You may be entitled to benefits from a class action settlement if: (a) you have owned or occupied at any time since January 1, 2005, a residential or commercial structure in the United States that contains or contained NIBCO’s Pex Tubing, Fittings or Clamps and have unreimbursed costs or damages resulting from water leaking from one of these products, or (b) you have repaired or paid to repair damage resulting from water leaking from one of these products in one of these structures.”

This is yet another setback for product manufacturers and represents a continuing set of challenges for the industry. Back in the late 90’s, certain PEX piping systems used yellow brass fittings which, under certain circumstances, dezincified and failed prematurely resulting in a series of class action lawsuits and settlements. Before that, in 1995, a one-billion-dollar class action settlement resulted in tens of thousands of homes being repiped but left tens of thousands more unprotected after they failed to replace their pipes during the qualifying settlement period.

For more information on the latest NIBCO settlement, please visit: http://www.pexsystemsettlement.com

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How to Maximize the Space of Your Rental Property

image4.jpgMany landlords and other property owners try all sorts of methods to increase the value of their property. It’s always advisable to do so as you can receive some excellent returns for minimal effort. The same goes for the space in your property. There are many methods that you can use, many of which amount to fairly simple tricks that are always effective for renters. Let’s take a good look at the best of them to enable you to maximize the amount of space your property has and thus increase your earnings Hanging Things on the Wall One of the main ways renters and others use to maximize the space of their property is to hang anything they can on the walls to free up the floor space. The thing about this idea is that it’s quite easy to do and yet it’s so effective. Many things can be mounted – from smaller worktops to lights, nightstands, and much more. That way you won’t only effectively maximize space, but you’ll also make the property appear much bigger. Less Space for Beds Beds are an essential aspect of every rental, but they also might clog areas. The bigger beds are more attractive to your potential tenants, but there will be less space for other furniture. Keep the size in proper comparison to the room space, so it doesn’t hamper the flow of the area. You require a massive area for a king-sized bed. The solutions here are several: Murphy beds – many of which are ......
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Considering Concessions? Think about Eliminating Deposits Instead

Considering Concessions? Think about Eliminating Deposits Instead
When the market softens and vacancies begin to rise, apartment operators traditionally turn to lease concessions. Whether they take the form of discounted rent or gifts such as a free iPad or a free television, the goal of concessions is the same: boost occupancy.But while concessions do have the benefit of decreasing vacancy rates, they can cause their fair share of trouble down the road including increased out of pocket expenses or even devaluing a property. Instead of offering concessions, operators should consider boosting occupancy by permanently doing away with security deposits.The Current ClimateMultifamily has been on a roll for the last decade. Rents soared while vacancies were sliced razor-thin. But the market has softened recently as new development has increased. And where there is a lot of new construction, there are bound to be lease concessions. This past spring, RealPage noted that rental concessions are particularly prevalent in the 15 markets with the most new supply.In September, Doug Ressler, director of business intelligence with research firm Yardi Matrix, told National Real Estate Investor that concessions are now present in all 133 apartment markets tracked by the company.Concessions could increase in the months ahead. In the National Multifamily Housing Council's most recent quarterly survey of CEOs and other senior executives of apartment-related firms, the survey's Market Tightness Index was 41. A reading below 50 indicates that market conditions are getting looser.The Problems with ConcessionsWhen you're in the midst of a softening market and you see more and more units sitting unoccupied,......
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The Supply and Demand Sides of Short Term Rentals

iStock-484711826  Sometimes new technologies and strategies change the way that we do business. More frequently, though, things that have worked in one industry find their way into other sectors, leading to fresh innovation. In multifamily, it is often the hotel industry that supplies some of the most plausible new ways to sell, market and deliver the experiences that define our industry. In the weeks since OPTECH 2018, there has been much discussion about short-term rentals. An array of vendors has emerged across the value chain - from apps that make it easy to rent out your apartment to platforms that run entire apartment buildings as if they were hotels. Demand for short-term rentals is growing rapidly, and business models are changing as we see shifts in both the demand and supply sides of the business. A few years ago I wrote a piece for Multifamily Insiders on the rise of Apartments.com and the parallels I saw with the growth of the Online Travel Agents (OTAs) like Expedia and Priceline and their impact on the hotel industry. At the time, an unprecedented escalation in spending on apartment marketing was raising the profile of the sector (including buying ad spots in the Superbowl!). Multifamily Internet Listing Sites (ILSs) seemed to be taking greater control of the customer. As I argued, it reminded me of the dynamic in the lodging sector, where OTAs had developed a value proposition that competed with traditional hotel companies and their websites. Since I wrote that piece, the ILSs have consolidated further, ......
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Instagram Do’s and Don’ts for Multifamily

Introduction Instagram has been great for keeping up-to-date with friends and your favorite celebrities (we are talking to you @shawnmendes), but it is rapidly evolving into a marketing platform for your property. Instagram makes it easy to stay top-of-mind, showcase your brand and opens a direct line of communication between you and your target audience. Lately, we have noticed a few Instagram faux pas that could be turning your followers off. We have reviewed 100’s of property management company profiles to bring you a list of the top 10 Do’s and Don’ts on Instagram.   Instagram Don'ts 1. Ignore sizing recommendations Instagram is a visual platform, so it is vital that you follow the sizing recommendations, or else your posts will appear grainy and/or won’t fit in the frame properly like the image above. We recommend using 1080×1080 pixels for regular posts and 1080×1920 pixels for stories.   2. Poor subject choices We love chili as much as the next guy, but sadly it is not a very aesthetically pleasing food, especially served in a Styrofoam bowl. When making your decisions on what to post, it is important to consider how it will look. Instead of posting a picture of the chili itself, you could opt for a picture featuring your staff holding the bowl (think: girl holding a coffee cup). Another alternative could be to post a picture of the buffet table with the crock pot lid on and mentioning the chili in the comment. This way, you can get the point......
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10 Step Guide to Marketing Lease-Ups

Lease Ups"Build it and they will come" isn't the makings of a great lease-up marketing strategy. In today's modern multifamily landscape, you need to have an online presence. Established communities benefit from better search rankings, reviews, real imagery and a social media presence. In this ten step guide, I'll cover the ten important steps your community can take to develop an online presence, compete with established communities, and reach sustainability. Step 1: Create a Brand When creating a brand identity for a community, it is important to consider what your unique value proposition is and who will be the most attracted to it. Start with a renter in mind. Imagine what the experience will be like when a prospect tours your community, signs a lease, moves in, and lives in your community. Why will this person choose to live in your community instead of your competitors? Do they think about the style of your interiors, the new location they have access to, or the people they plan to invite to the rooftop lounge for drinks? Put it into words. Think of two or three words or phrases that encompass what life will be like in your community. Luxurious & Tech Savvy Active Lifestyle, Near Nature & Pet-Friendly Eclectic, Expressive & Exciting Family Friendly, Convenient & Safe Once you know what you want your brand to represent and who you are attracting, you’ll need to develop brand elements and materials. Start with developing a name, imagery, font styles, copy and logos that match your brand. Ma......
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4 Consistent Habits That Led Me To My Multifamily Dream Job

4 Consistent Habits That Led Me To My Multifamily Dream Job
When I started in the multifamily industry nearly twenty years ago as a leasing consultant, I wanted more. Don’t get me wrong, I was excited about the opportunity before me and knew I had a lot to learn. But I was also hungry to get to the next level.   In fact, during my new hire orientation, I told the Marketing and Training Director that my goal was to get her job. Yes, it would take time for me to get myself into a role like that, but it gave me something to work towards.   It fueled me. For the next two years, I worked at my community, diligently trying to close every lease and renew every resident. I constantly listened to my recorded leasing calls, searching for ways I could improve my telephone performance. I pounded the pavement in the neighborhood, visiting local businesses, trying to build a trusted relationship with them that would lead to referrals.   I coordinated meetings with the service team and my manager, with a desire to learn more about their niches of the business. I attended every internal class my company offered and took detailed notes. I would come back to my property, and put what I learned into action.   My company moved me from site to site, challenging me to solve the most complex leasing and occupancy problems, and I seemed to be fairly good at getting community performance back on track.   And then the time came. The Marketing and T......
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A 'Humans + Machines' Virtuous Cycle in Multifamily

Introduction Automation is a term that has been thrown around a lot lately in multifamily (a lot of times by yours truly: See exhibit A).  Furthermore, I have pushed the idea of a 'Humans + Machines' workforce where humans and machines work together to create new workflows, but that is just the beginning. Adding a digital workforce to work alongside your team is the basis for a virtuous cycle of success. From increased NOI to attracting more owners to managing more properties, the digital workforce can change multifamily's economics.     What is a Virtuous Cycle? A ‘Virtuous Cycle’ is when one success leads to another, and then another, in a repeating loop. Before we jump into the Multifamily Virtuous Cycle, let’s take a look at Netflix’s Virtuous Cycle.     Netflix Virtuous Cycle Here is the Netflix Virtuous Cycle as explained by Netflix CFO David Wells:     Let’s break it down. Netflix invests in producing more shows. With more shows there is more variety, which means there are more watchers. More watchers means more talkers. This leads to more subscribers. More subscribers generate more revenue. With more revenue, Netflix can invest in more shows. And the cycle continues. As you can see, the cycle fuels itself for future success. By creating more shows, Netflix will set off a chain of events leading to more revenue. As long as Netflix keeps investing in new shows, the cycle will continue. So now that you have seen a Virtuous Cycle, let’s explore how a digital wor......
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For Leasing Consultants Who Sell Value, Fluctuating Rental Rates Can Cause Massive Headaches

For Leasing Consultants Who Sell Value, Fluctuating Rental Rates Can Cause Massive Headaches
I have always been a value seller, in that I justify the cost of an item by showing all the value that the person will get out of it.  So when I was leasing apartments, if the rent was $1,000, then there must be $1,000 (or more) of value that we are providing in order for me to be confident in my sales approach.  However, as different pricing strategies came into play which resulted in constantly fluctuating rental rates, it really threw me for a loop.  I’m guessing that there are others who struggle with this same issue, so hopefully this helps! Let’s say that a certain 1 bedroom floor plan two months ago rented at $1,000/mo, but since then, the supply of 1 bedrooms has gone down, and also the market rates in the area have turned up, so now that same apartment rents at $1,100.  The challenge for me was that nothing had fundamentally changed in my idea of “value”.  The amenities hadn’t changed.  The level of customer service, although great, hadn’t really changed.  It was essentially the same apartment and living experience as it was two months ago, and yet it was more expensive.  From a practical perspective, I understood what was driving the price up, but I was having trouble being as confident in an apartment that was more expensive even though nothing had really changed with its “value”.  Now, not everyone will have issues with this value conundrum, as people sell in different ways, but for those who happe......
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